Semaglutide is a medication that has gained popularity as an effective way to lose weight for many people. However, some people might not lose as much weight as they expect on semaglutide. So what’s the deal?
If you’ve been taking semaglutide and you’re wondering why you’re not losing more weight, several factors could be at work.
At the BIFAT Center, we want to help you focus on ways to identify and manage these factors so you can improve your overall health and be most successful in your weight loss journey.
1. Individual Differences
First and foremost, it’s important to recognize that each person’s body responds differently to medications, including semaglutide. While some people experience significant weight loss, others may not see the same results.
Our genetic makeup, metabolism, and underlying health conditions can all play a role in how our bodies react to semaglutide. More on this below.
2. Complacency with Lifestyle Habits
Semaglutide isn’t a magic solution for weight loss; it’s most effective when combined with healthy lifestyle habits.
People who expect semaglutide to work wonders without changing their eating habits or exercise routines might not see the desired results.
Weight loss is a holistic journey that requires dedication to healthy eating and regular physical activity.
3. Unrealistic Expectations
Weight loss on semaglutide, like any other medication, takes time. Unrealistic expectations can lead to disappointment and frustration, causing people to give up too soon. It’s essential to approach weight loss with patience and understand that steady progress is more sustainable than quick fixes.
To minimize side effects, you’ll start semaglutide at a low dose of 0.25 mg weekly. You’ll stay on this dosage for 4 weeks before increasing the dose to 0.5 mg weekly. Depending on your body’s response to semaglutide, your healthcare provider may continue to increase your dosage once every 4 weeks until you reach the maximum dosage of 2.4 mg weekly. This process could take 4 months.
Be patient and know that the medication is working. During this time frame, you should begin eating less, feeling less hungry, and have fewer cravings (particularly for high-fat foods and alcohol).
And although it’s not approved for these indications, semaglutide may help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol.
A 68-week study with almost 2,000 adult participants reported an average weight loss of nearly 15% of their body weight (approximately 35 pounds).
Rule of thumb: Healthy, sustainable weight loss is 0.5 to 2 pounds per week. Some people routinely lose more than this.
4. Underlying Health Conditions
Certain medical conditions can hinder weight loss progress, even with the use of semaglutide. For example, thyroid disorders (hypothyroidism), hormonal imbalances (e.g., low testosterone or estrogen), and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can affect metabolism and make it more challenging to shed pounds.
If you’re not losing weight on semaglutide, make an appointment with your primary care physician to make sure there aren’t underlying health conditions (blood tests may be needed).
5. You May Need a Higher Dosage
The dosage of semaglutide prescribed by a healthcare provider plays an important role in its effectiveness. Some individuals might require adjustments to their dosage for optimal results earlier than once every 4 weeks.
Communicating openly with your healthcare provider is essential if your appetite isn’t suppressed.
At BIFAT Center, we consider three factors when deciding how to increase the dose for our clients. Each month, we will discuss whether you’ve experienced bothersome side effects, how well semaglutide managed your hunger, and how much weight you lost. How fast we increase the dose for our clients is individualized to the needs of each patient.
Remember: At BIFAT Center, your monthly cost does NOT increase when your dose increases. And you’ll have access to WhatsApp and email to ask questions during your weight loss journey.
6. Lack of Compliance
Weight loss requires consistent adherence to the weight loss plan. Missing doses of semaglutide or not taking it as directed can slow your weight loss progress.
It’s essential to follow the semaglutide dosing schedule and inform your healthcare provider about any issues or challenges in sticking to the plan.
7. Side Effects
Like all medications, semaglutide may have side effects, such as nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and burping. Heachache and fatigue are also possible. These side effects can impact a person’s ability to maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine, leading to slower weight loss or slowing progress altogether.
If the side effects are severe, it’s important to consult with your healthcare provider so they can help you manage these side effects and stay on track.
8. Lack of Physical Activity
Although semaglutide can help suppress appetite and promote a feeling of fullness, physical activity remains an essential component of successful weight loss. Sedentary lifestyles can slow down weight loss progress even with the use of semaglutide.
Incorporating regular exercise into daily routines can significantly improve weight loss outcomes.
But how often should you exercise? The American Heart Association recommends the following weekly exercise practices:
•Aerobics: 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (e.g., water aerobics, dancing, or gardening) or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise (e.g., running, swimming laps, or jumping rope)
•Muscle-strengthening: two days of muscle-strengthening activities like resistance or weight training, yoga, or pilates
It’s recommended that older adults should also include balance training in their exercise routines (e.g., tai chi, heel-to-toe walking or balancing on one leg). These exercises strengthen the leg muscles and core to improve coordination and stability and may help prevent falls.
Remember: Exercise helps speed up your metabolism and helps you build muscle mass while you lose fat. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water to help keep hydrated.
Drinking enough water each day is important for many reasons. Water helps keep our joints lubricated, delivers nutrients to our cells, keeps our organs working properly, and prevents infections. It also helps regulate our temperature, prevents constipation and gallstones, and removes harmful waste through pee, sweat, and poop. Hydration also helps boost energy levels and weight loss and helps with mood and memory.
9. Stress, Emotional Factors, and Lack of Sleep
Regular chronic stress can lead to weight gain. This is because, with repeated stress, your body releases high levels of cortisol, which increases your blood sugar and causes weight gain. You may also begin to feel tired and depressed. When stressed, you may not have time to make healthy meals or exercise. You may also be more likely to crave high-fat or sugary foods.
Not getting enough sleep can be incredibly frustrating. It can significantly affect your mood and make it difficult to get through your day. It also can cause unintentional weight gain and cause you to get sick more often. This is because too little sleep causes hormonal changes that impact your perception of your hunger. It can also lead to poor food choices (e.g., foods high in calories or carbohydrates), ultimately leading to weight gain.
Semaglutide can aid in appetite control, but emotional factors can override this effect. Addressing emotional eating patterns and seeking support from healthcare professionals or counselors when needed is important.
10. Plateau Effect
Some individuals might experience a plateau effect, where weight loss reaches a standstill after an initial period of progress. This can be discouraging, but it’s common in weight loss journeys.
Patience, perseverance, and possibly adjusting lifestyle habits (e.g., physical activity, nutrient-rich, whole-food diets, and staying hydrated) can help overcome plateaus.